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Climate Change Politics

Series/Special. Scientists talk about the politics and evidence on global warming, and reaction to their findings.




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Us 10, California 5, Europe 4, America 4, Germany 3, Sandy 3, Colorado 3, Canada 3, U.s. 3, Chicago 2, Catherine 2, Stephen Schneider 2, Texas 2, England 2, Etc. 2, Untenable 1, Mtv 1, Nile 1, John Wesley 1, Obama 1,
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  CSPAN    Climate Change Politics    Series/Special. Scientists talk about the politics and  
   evidence on global warming, and reaction to their findings.  

    December 29, 2012
    11:30 - 12:35am EST  

i have offended someone. lincoln said when he suspended habeas corpus, he did so when congress was out of session. when -- as soon as congress returned, he sought permission. all power to jefferson who had the audacity to embed a doctrine of natural rights. all of my political sentiments, all of my political sentiment derived from the declaration. there is no sense in which woodrow wilson, although he did expand executive powers in peacetime, there is no sense in which he is in lincoln's position.
>> thank you. >> thank you for your excellent lecture. towards the end of your lecture, you mentioned that in the 20th century, secular and political faiths have killed more people than religious faiths. i can only assume you were talking about soviet russia and nazi germany. were these regimes possible because of the uniformity? if that is the case, how did the myriad number of protestant
denominations in the united states provide a unique defense against tyranny? >> i would not say -- i was not referring to just the soviet union and nazi germany. communist china killed far more of those two tyrannies combined, with no christian heritage to speak of. there are serious scholars that makes serious arguments that there is something and luther's temperament that was germanic. he was no democrat.
the more, the merrier. religious factions or alternative sources of social authority. what you want is a society in which the state does not monopolized social authority. >> you talked extensively about religion in the united states contributing to [inaudible] there is one particular force that think they can inflict their views on this country. they insist said it was the intention of the founding fathers to create a christian equivalent of iran, which i do not think is the case. just because you are religious, it does not make you write all the time.
>> get in line with everybody else. with respect, i disagree with what you just said. the religious right, which i obviously am not a member, rose after the religious left in the form of the reverend martin luther king and jesse jackson, etc., etc. the religious right was provoked into politics. the tradition among many protestants was political quietism. and then the supreme court decided that the constitution required that there be at
exclusion of religion from the public square in the removal of prayer from schools. deeply offended a great many americans. 40 years ago, next month, they delivered the final provocation for the legitimate political purpose of trying to save the culture. i know a great many people work them up into a frenzy about the threats of theocracy. you use the comparison of iran.
good lord. we are so far from any possible menace of religious orthodoxy. try to have a prayer at a high- school football game in texas. there is zero grounds. i do not see it. nor do i think in the members of the religious right, and i know many of them, any desire to tyrannize. they went into politics because they felt they were attacked. they want to be left alone. [applause]
>> i appreciate you as a voice of reason. [inaudible] my question is more about historical and interpretation. what do think it keeps us so deeply in our ongoing philosophy of what democracy should be? >> that is a separate question. there are two in my ignorance. the continental french enlightenment and the british enlightenment.
they differ radically. the british enlightenment was empirical and temperate. the french enlightenment was severe. one gave rise to be glorious revolution and eventually the american revolution. the french enlightenment gave rise to the french revolution and a blood bath.
this sounds like a philosophy seminar. what do we know and how do we know it? the french are great believers in deductive reasoning. the british, in the tradition of skepticism which make sure tentative about the fallibility. >> thank you for your lecture. me and my husband moved to germany. when i considered entering into adulthood, how can i contribute to society? it is very difficult to give any sort of charity for any charitable purposes in europe. it is very difficult to give service in europe. when i was asking people, they said, why would we serve? there is a bureau for that. there are some places in europe
burk it is illegal to give volunteer service. as i see the united states going in the same trend of all sourcing -- outsourcing, it is so overregulated and so over controlling of your life, it takes away your freedom to even support yourself, how would you propose the government relinquished power is that it has taken over peacefully? how do you think the government would be able to let go of this control of our lives? >> i agree with every syllable you just said. [laughter]
you almost provoked me to be more political than i felt comfortable doing in this chapel. leave more space, more breathing room for civil society. this astonishing combustion of voluntary association. in my remarks, i used the analogy of a tree. in the shade of which, smaller things cannot grow. that is the danger of an excess of state. >> [inaudible] how can we get them to take the laws out?
[applause] >> we are almost out of time. >> you were raised in a secular household. and how you still classify yourself as not being religious. he still believed to be the correct position. you also mentioned the benefits of religion. this interesting paradox where if everybody held the position you do, we would lose the benefits of religion.
how do you reconcile that? >> you are right. it is an empirical question. not a question of logic. it is an empirical question. society can be prosperous and virtuous and freed without religious sustenance. the biggest laboratory for that is post-christian europe. it is not promising. it is a fair question. the logic of my argument is there are a lot more people like me, we would be in big trouble. i think that may be true. >> thank you. >> what are your views on the present state and the future state of the american nuclear family?
>> without any doubt, america's biggest problem is not the debt. the fiscal cliff and other metaphorical geology. the biggest problem in america is family disintegration. family is the primary transmitter of social capital. [applause] 1964, lyndon johnson's labor department, produced a report. there is a crisis in the negro family today because 24% of african-americans children are being born to unmarried parents. 24% in 1964. today, one-third of all american children are born to unmarried mothers. we know what this means. we know the social pathology. we know what that means in
terms of neighborhoods and schools. we have no idea what happened. we do not know why in 1950, the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 5%. we have seen family disintegration during war, famine, and pestilence. it has happened in wales, portugal, spain, all over. we do not know why. we do not know what to do about it. i will give an answer that will interest and amuse the previous questioner. when two things coincided in late 18th-century england, a grain surplus, the result was a cheap gin and a social calamity.
they passed a few laws, licensing laws, it did not help. what turned britain around was john wesley. methodism. converting the women of england -- [laughter] that is the way it worked. it is an odd thing for me to be saying.
>> you talked about the virtues freedom requires. i worked in the field of education. if our major problem children come to school without virtues, it is the public school system the place to nurture that? i believe our society and culture does not nurture those virtues. how do we address that? >> this is a good question. the family is the smallest school. by the time all lots of negligently parentage, often at no-fault to the single mother,
these children get to school, and it is too late. the chicago schoolteacher it says should its first graders who do not know numbers, shapes, or colors. they're raised in a culture of silence except for the television. it is america's biggest problem. and on that cheerful note, thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
>> a discussion on climate science and politics. paul by director of nasa's goddard institute of space studies. another look at religion and politics. tomorrow, we are joined by the indiana rep. he will talk about the 113th congress in his priorities. join us sunday at 10:00 eastern and again at 6:00 p.m. eastern. >> as president obama begins his second term, what is the most important issue? >> if you are in grades 6 through 12, make a video about
your message to the president. is your chance to win $5,000. the deadline is january 18. for more information go to >> next a discussion on climate science, politics, and global warming. from the commonwealth club of california, this is about one hour. [applause] >> thank you for coming. we are delighted to be here. welcome. seven years ago, there was a
consensus in washington that the earth's atmosphere could be altered. it is a different story. over the next hour, we will discuss opinion, with james
hansen and our live audience here at the in san francisco. today, dr. hansen is receiving the 2012 stephen schneider award for outstanding climate science climate one. stephen schneider was a who was involved in the formation of climate one that[applause] sandy. new york? to place it in a modern context,
we have to turn to proxy data like coral and ice to piece together the puzzle of how the climate buried in the distant past. it showed it was relatively warm. it was about a thousand years ago. recently that exceeded anything we have seen. it was featured in the summary for policy makers in 2001. when it became an icon, those who find the science inconvenient saw the need to try to discredit this graph. they saw discrediting me as a way to do that.
some have been attacked for the work they have done. i was also bill of five. my book tells the story of what it is like to be a scientist and find yourself in voluntary and accidental public figure. i was put in the limelight in limelight. [laughter] stick metaphor -- >> yes. that, if we as scientists are talking to the right people.
reflag that we would not tell you but for fear that you might >> you are relatively new todid you know what you're getting a career in atmospheric change? having studied under steven the public scrutiny. 98%.
the backlash. >> what happened? there was an incredibly high agreement essentially were not very well qualified. literature. the blogger sphere -- theit was not very friendly.
encourage others to send you e- mails, i have had over two morning. downright evil. general's -- hockey stick. scientists are intended to have a chilling effect.
have implications for human- caused climate change. door of my office. off to a lab. chilling message. in public discourse. prospective research project >> does it affect your research choices?
commitment. the importance of not being not setting an example for decide that, well, maybe i should go into another field. see. set up to prevent other scientists from doing research toward carbon emissions. chilled. intended to be set by those who have vested interests, to not have the truth be unveiled.
[applause] >> let's talk a little bit about who these people are and motivations. there is quite firm grasp of bags. they are well informed. >> my personal experience living in west texas is that the people let me in the grocery store >> my personal experience living in west texas is that the people let me in the grocery store or walking down the street or in the office next door, they know more about the issues surrounding climate change than the average person who says we have to take action right away because they don't think it is a real problem. they have all of these reasons not to back it up. as a scientist, i think the facts are enough. there is an enormous amount of fear that we're dealing with an issue where the m?
are distant and far away. but the solutions -- where the impacts our descent and far away. but the solutions infringe on our freedom and our economy and our rights. there is a lot of emotion attached to this. do i think about which research projects to do? no, because i get it for standing up and saying that by seeing the change in humans are the cause. it is not new research here is the basic fact we have known for decades. >> how do you communicate that? >> they are are a few people for whom facts are important, but it is about fear. it is thinking that i am a conservative and conservatives don't think this is true.
or i am a person of faith and this is not compatible with my faith in god. these a things that people near and dear to their hearts and not their brains. but we all live on this planet. we'll want a better life for children. we want a better economy. those of us who hold any major faith believe the creation is something to be taking care of, the people are to be loved. when we have these shared values and make a case for climate change, we're starting with identities of people already have. >> you have written about six stages of the nile. -- of denial. >> the claim that the earth was not warming soon became untenable.
not just thermometer records, but independent-minded bevins tell us that the climate is warming. so the next stage of denial is that he is part of the natural suck -- the natural cycle. but then that is untenable because of the kind of work that scientists have done that find that it is not part of the natural cycle. so it goes. so then the argument is that part of the warming is due to human impact, but it is pretty small and it will not be very much in the future and the sensitivity of the climate system is at the low-end. peevishly, that becomes untenable. -- eventually, the becomes untenable. we see in the arctic, the sea ice is retreating at a schedule that is decades ahead what the
models were projecting. we see changes on full faster than we would expect. somewhat ironically, it eventually, this comes full circle. it is too late to do anything about it anyways. so we might as well just adapt to it. one has to recognize that denial does take various forms. and there are various constituencies that we're spending too. this is not monolithic. >> there is a piece of work called "the sixth america." from alarm to concern, caution, disengage, helpful, and submissive -- how do you fine- tune your message? >> we are working exactly on that right now.
socialooking of psychology, media and marketing. again, it is going off of science. how do we react to information? we all have different values and different things that motivate us. we have to recognize that, for one person, making it better for their child might be paramount. but for another person, national security might be very issue. there's also responsibility, loving your neighbor, creation maybe the next step. even though there is there one size facts fits all, it is not a one-size science. >> this is not for anything special, but something on top of [indiscernible] how're you doing with that? [laughter]
>> we have a responsibility. we have this issue. i think i speak with all of you. if we hold silent on a, who will speak? we are not in this because we want to receive e-mails morning. we're in this because we have to tell the truth. >> you have been a key person talking to communities of faith. how you get over that god sovereignty issue? that humans can't affect creatinon. >> that is a fairly common question which is easy to answer. look around us today. do we see things happening that are bad? do we see consequences of poor choices that we see? all the time. somebody drinks to many, they get in the car and they kill
somebody. we see all the time evidence of reaping what we have sowed. and the bible tells us that. it is a reflection of free will that god has given us to make choices and to bear the consequences of those choices. >> do you buy that? -- anything to add to that? >> at some level, whether you want to frame this in terms of religious faith or ethics, to me, we focus so much on climate change as an issue of science or an issue a policy or economics, the cost-benefit analysis. but is ultimately the initiative are ethical obligation. i have a daughter who is 7 years old. fallen to make sure that we do make decisions today -- that we do not locked in a future of a degraded earth for her children and grandchildren by the decisions we're making now with fossil fuel usage.
to some extent, we have gained economically through dirt cheap excess of energy. but it will be costly down the road. we still have time to avert a future where we leave our children and grandchildren a degraded planet, but there's not a whole lot of time. >> basically-judges has been -- basically, our idea has been let's make our children richer and they can figure it out here [laughter] my daughters may live to the end of this century. what are they looking at? >> there is still time to prevent -- most scientists
classify it as what would constitute a very dangerous impact on the plan met -- on the planet. we can prevent that. we would have to prevent sued to concentration -- would have to prevent co2 concentration. next year, if we were sitting in this room, rudi 397. -- they would be about 397. you can get to 450 pretty soon if we do not make some dramatic changes. if you do the math -- my good friend has going around the country with the do the math tour.
we can still prevent dangerous impacts on our climate. but we have to bring our fossil fuel emissions to repeat within a matter of years. we have to ramp and down dramatically in the years ahead to acquire a major investment of infrastructure which shifts to renewable energy sources. we can do it. there is nothing preventing us from doing it other than will car here --than will power. >> bringing the global issue down to the global scale, i found that nine cases that of 10, the reason why we care about climate change is not because -- is because stressors with vulnerabilities that we're built-in. here in california, half of the water from the sierra nevada snowpack is not enough to go around today. what if it gets warmer and the snow that melts in the winter? come spring, farmers will not have the water that they need. in west texas, we are taking the
water out of an aquifer. in 15 years, we have drained half the aquifer. it is not coming back. where will we get the water then? in the northeast, where a big cities right at sea level. they are already liable to stone -- to storm say. -- to storms today. as the world warms, we will have increasing risks, but we have already built into our cities and agriculture and water and heat. but is that water vulnerable ready -- vulnerability trickling into the system? >> until now, you have the ability of with drying unlimited amounts of water. for the first time, they're intending to limit them and people are up in arms.
that is a freedom you're taking away >> you really mean arms. >> yes, i do. 1 >> , some of the drought with sought and colorado is affected by climate? >> it comes down to what you said in what the future will look like. lee have seen longer fire seasons, larger fires, and a lot of resources and wrote. in regards to our forests, we see the early signs, the tip of the iceberg, what these forests will do during stress. widespread massive pre-mortality events? these are pretty strongly linked to temperature. it is fairly safe to say it
these are warnings of what is coming. >> when you are in colorado doing research, people connect those stocks? >> they're starting to appear -- those dots? >> they are starting to. and sometimes i want to chat and tell you what they think is chap -- but it is happening. but you would take note and stop to think about it anymore. >> 2012 here in the u.s. gave us a glimpse of the sort of future that is in store if we do not do something to avert -- if we don't shift away from business as usual. we saw record temperatures last
summer. we saw record drought for large for the country. in colorado, that came together with record fuel. because of the pine bark beetle infestation, due to record warm winters, it was literally a perfect storm of macroclimate's and assesses the came together to bring this wildfire. we saw american storm. and hurricane. it broke previous records and flooding in new york city.
and there's certainly a climate change in the sense that, from the 13 -- at least 1 foot of that would have saved lives. that is the difference between a bad and a disastrous flooding event. that storm was sitting over near-record temperatures. we saw that a year ago. warm temperatures were sitting off the east coast of the u.s. it was a slower-moving storm and is the goal of the moisture, leading to record flooding over a large part of the western u.s.. scientists are starting to peace that together potentially with the unusual trajectory that sandy took that was not part of the social impact.
>> which talked-about the pine bark beetle. catherine, as a canadian, how does this debate affect canada or other neighboring countries? question i would love to be able to say that things are very different in canada, but i can you -- cannot. there are definitely more people. you can have all the goodwill in the world. but if you deny do anything about it, it does not produce anywhere ahead. climate change brings up issues that are in the american psyche, things like taxation, government control, and people thinking back to 1976 when you hear words like that.
so i think there is a very different culture in canada, working together, more of a communal ideas. so i believe we have less of schools to overcome where independents is something that is ingrained since we were born. >> there is significant resistance here in the u.s., but also elsewhere. let's talk about some of the personal attacks. in your book, you wrote to strides in newton and his e- mails had been dissected. use that to say that you were doing parlor tricks the you were not really trying to do. there was a famous saying who once gave me shorelines. unfortunately, when you look at the jargon that we use, it is quite a bit different from the
popular lexicon. we use the term trip all the time as it were a symbol way to solve a problem. you learn about tricks to solving differential requirements. yet, when a public is not familiar with the language of science, it is exposed, taken at of context. taken at of context specifically in new ways to mislead them to what they were disputing about. it is very easy to check to convince them that that is their worst fears were that scientists are conspiring to fool the public. that climate change is the greatest disservice perpetrated on the american people. [laughter]
>> have anyone to be mailed did they have? >> it was a cherry picking exercise. >> explain what you were doing with a tricky since where you were combining different types of data. >> it was not my words and it was not talking about my work. but he was the one they were all turned to go after so it was attached to me. there was an e-mail address to me for my colleague who said something about addressing two ways of keeping track of the same data. the trees are known not to be reliable and collector 1960. they have to throw out the data by 1960.
global warming did not start in 1960. he wanted to make sure that the record was from the past two decades. he was applying device for coming up with the heckscher sensation. >> what can science due to in the eyes of us? what are we prepared to buffer against changes that are coming our way? tell us about adaptation. >> i do a lot of work with agents, looking at what climate
change means. so we looked at california and chicago and now texas. that is where i live. we are always very careful to look at it with at least two different and vigorous grandeur. what will the future look like if you can transition in a sensible way to alternative energy and low carbon emissions. and i really like this two- pronged approach. we see what we have to adapt to, no matter what we do. you have no magic switch. so we will have to adapt to -- if you're working as a refuge to protect an endangered species, 50 years from now come made to be 300 miles to the
north and it does not make sense. but by quantifying the higher and pat, which for california, it would be lost of 9%. when we look at that scenario, looking at the differences and trying to quantify the benefits, if we didn't do this without this, the chances of living between a high scenario is somewhere between 20% and 30 prevent sign. the only reason we will change is because we learned the consequences of our poor choices. i like to think that every time we do an assessment and looking at business as usual, i would like to think that air time we do that, we're changing the livelihood of passing this way.
>> are you saying that we need to go on the low car and died. >> we do not work on our own health as a country. >> don't make it personal, greg. [laughter] >> i know what i eat. at we're not very good something that is even that personal. >> as catherine said, we have to recognize that there is a certain amount of change that is compatible. it is in the pipeline. we will have to adapt to a certain amount of civil level -- in terms of the sea level rise. the fact is, if you look at business as usual through the end of the century, we're talking about a different planet. it is not the planet we grew up in. we're talking about an environment that receives the adaptive capacity of ecosystems.
so adaptation alone is not a viable strategy. there is too much discussion about adaptation. it seems to be a crush for those who do not want to take the necessary actions. we have to do both. >> is there any place to hide? i know people who have looked at the map and think there is where i will go. does that follow you? >> you may have remembered that scientists were arrested in the 1960's. he concluded that there were only two nations in the world
who would benefits for global warning. they deny care about canada. they did not take his advice. but 50 years later, we are back to doing what he recommended and that he is coming out of the pacific. the balance is the excess of both parent. >> there will be a lot more floods and malting of carmen- frost. >> you can see in these observations the co2 rises in the atmosphere, but that is an atmosphere ecosystem drying up. if a monoxide.
>> is the diminishing? >> there are some early did it -- early identification is that they might be. in general, the force provide a very enviable evil system and dressed joe fur trade benefits we don't know exactly when or if we have crossed that tipping point, but they knew that they have discovered this. >> i just want to ask you how you get up in the morning? you must have a great deal of optimism. >> if you want to go upstate. if you want to call it ho.
-- hope. oscar, a change we have addressed -- in time, we have had the opportunity to address fans. we will step up to the plate, even though this is a bigger problem that gets down to the roots of our energy economy. but we will tackle this problem. >> we have the microphone here. we would like to invite your for dissipation. the line starts right here with our producer.
we invite you to join the conversation. one part question. if you have a problem with that, i am here for you. there will then be brief intermission. and then there will be the conclusion of this evening's program. >> i worked in a hospital laboratory. my question to use about the dynamic model. on the gi bill back in 1978, what i earn about -- i learned of the theory of global warming. a year later, i found something that would question money to do some like this. i was involved in that for a year. since then, i have not been able to give the academic community
in -- i am a model on the signs in super science. my question is why is there so much reluctance in the academic community to look at a program they helped bid and benefits the economy and education and the next generation? i am not sure i see reluctant spirit and see a lot of outside- the-box. when it comes to the entire couple problem of social, hurt, interaction, there is a lot of interest in understanding all of the coupling, much as the relationship between fossil fuel blue -- fossil fuel burning and climate change, but how humans respond to the decisions that are involved and the feedback that actually occurs.
because the climate is changing. human behavior influences climate. there is a lot of research going on. there is an interesting dynamic, a social earth system, if you like. >> thank you. let's have your next question. my humanness comes out when i see commercials of companies that are speaking of both sides of their mouth. this is an audience filled with left-writers and petition scientists. -- letter writers and petition signers. any suggestions on how to effectively get to these companies? >> catherine? >> and good question. >> i am not speaking as an
expert. i certainly heard could result from shareholder meetings. they're taking a look at your portfolio and it could mean a potential foot in the wolf. >> he has looked at the anti- apartheid on how to perhaps bring greater accountability. bill is a real rock star. he gets people involved.
that is what we're talking about, getting involved, is influencing policy makers, decision making, speaking with the opinion leaders. there is a multiplier effect that we all need to sort of use whatever tools are available to us to bring this issue to the floor. >> just a reminder, the anti- apartheid chapter began at schools around the country. it led to california and the governor. >> i am jim salinger. i am teaching c's. it is very interesting when you hear a song, australian or a cannon, the denial is so strong. if you ask why, i might be surprised [indiscernible] and i was teaching a class three weeks ago and we said,
come on, you can have leadership from the top. where is the groundswell from underneath? we were in mtv. -- when anti vietnam issues were important. >> are there -- >> that is what i am asking. the graduation for students? are you talking about that tuition and whatever else? there is something all the came out a few months ago. concern about climate change and different age groups.
what we found was that they acceptance of climate changes that it is higher and higher than it has ever been among college students. so they don't exemplify them as strangers. when it is difficult to find a job when there are bread and butter issues in the table, it is easy to sedate someone who seems different. maybe the picture changes a bit. when it starts to come home. we have events like hurricane sandy, the wildfires, i think people are starting to recognize that this is not a far off problem. if it is something that we are expecting it now . it is really the prioritization of action. of action.